Photographer Sipke Visser's new book, Doggies, pokes fun at canine aficionados

The 37-year-old visited the Discover Dogs event at London's Earls Court exhibition centre, where 34,000 visitors attend with 3,000 tail-waggers

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The Independent Culture

Growing up in the Netherlands, Sipke Visser wasn't allowed a dog. Instead, he made do with a cat and a steady rotation of guinea pigs and hamsters. Since then, a series of smallish flats has meant he's been unable to keep a canine companion.

But his ongoing interest in pooches led the 37-year-old to visit the Discover Dogs event, held in London's Earls Court exhibition centre, last year.

For two days each November, 34,000 visitors attend with more than 3,000 tail-waggers, just a few of which Visser captured for his new book, Doggies.

"It's more of an event than a show," Visser points out. "It's not really a place where dogs are awarded prizes for looking good."

He's not wrong. Plenty of the animals featured are, to put it kindly, a little on the scruffy side. Crufts this is not. Most of the dogs are photographed with their owners, and Visser, who now lives in Hackney, east London, managed to catch the unique bond between keeper and pet.

"Sometimes they treat the dog like a person and in return the dogs seem to take on human traits and looks," the photographer says. "I guess you could say they converge towards each other."

 

The unconventional, almost garish images revel in an odd use of composition, resulting in a collection of humorous snaps that gently pokes fun at these canine aficionados.

"I think the images show a bit of humanity. I hope people look at the pictures and smile as they recognise themselves in them."

To order the book or fine-art prints: sipkevisser.nl/shop/doggies. Discover Dogs is at Earls Court next weekend (discoverdogs.org.uk)

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